A Brief and Tentative Analysis of Negro Leadership

By Ralph J. Bunche; Jonathan Scott Holloway | Go to book overview

5
Conclusion

Two studies of Negro leadership have been made which are good examples of what Negro leadership studies ought not to be. (cf. Negro Leaders, by Harry W. Greene, West Virginia State College Bulletin, Series 23, No. 6, Nov. 1936; and Virginia's Contribution to Negro Leadership, Extension Department, Hampton Institute, 1937.) The first of these makes a mild attempt to analyze the educational and social background factors of 150 prominent Negroes whose life sketches are carried in national directories. It makes simple tabulations of the birthplaces of these leaders, the colleges and universities they attended, their informal educational contacts, their organizational affiliations, their professions or vocations, and their religious denominations. When all the shouting is over, it is shown that most of them came from small towns in the South but now live in big ones; they attended the best schools, they are mainly in educational work, they belong to learned societies, many are ministers, etc. No attempt is made to analyze the basis for their elevation, the dynamics of leadership among Negroes, the techniques employed to attain power and to preserve it, nor of their general attitudes on general and Negro problems. The Virginia study merely presents a long list of names with bare biographical facts, and no analysis at all.

Negro leadership is a largely local phenomenon and even in the local communities its influence seldom filters down to the masses of black people. Quite often it does not even impress itself upon the “classes.” Negro leadership has not developed well the techniques for really reaching the masses of people, nor have those appeals been developed which can really arouse them in the mass. There is a fundamental realism lacking in the approaches of Negro leaders. They are great platform artists, many of them, but they have not permitted themselves to strike at the heart of the Negro's suffering here. The trouble is that so much of the leadership is middle class in its thinking and living, and inevitably harps upon those disabilities which are of far more importance to the limited

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A Brief and Tentative Analysis of Negro Leadership
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Note on Editorial Policy and Formatting xiii
  • 1: A General Survey of Negro Leadership 39
  • 2 64
  • 3: Life Histories Analysis 156
  • 4: Leadership Schedules 190
  • 5: Conclusion 194
  • Index 225
  • About the Author and the Editor 229
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